London: Harry Potter fans poured into book stores around the world on Saturday to get hold of the seventh and final volume in the series: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
"Now I'm going to go home and read the first chapter, then I'm going to sleep because I've only slept three hours in two days," said Tineke Dijkstra from the Netherlands, who travelled to London for the launch. "I've been queuing since Wednesday."
Others prepared for a long, sleepless night. "I'm undoubtedly going to read the book before going to bed today," said Robin Holland at a shop in west London.
There was both excitement and regret in New York. "It's like losing part of my childhood," said William Bishop, 16, dressed as Harry complete with a scar on his head.
In Sydney, about 1,500 Potter fans rode two steam trains from the city centre to a secret destination where bookstore staff were preparing to hand out copies.
One avid fan had to be rescued from a lake in the nation's capital Canberra on Friday after he dived in to rescue a pre-purchase receipt necessary to pick up his book.
In Mumbai, children tried to guess what would happen to Harry after author J.K. Rowling said last year that at least two main characters would die by the end of the seventh novel.
"I have a bet with my friends that Harry is not going to die," said Abhigyan Jain, a young fan dressed as a Death Eater.
Some families are imposing news blackouts at their homes to avoid disappointment now that "P-Day" has arrived.
"I haven't gone on the Internet for the past two months because I did not want to know the ending," Eve Laurecon, a 25-year-old from France dressed as a witch, said in London.
Twelve million copies have been printed for the US market alone. Onnline retailer Amazon.com said its global pre-orders hit a record 2.2 million.